Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
This week’s artist’s statement will be brief, as I am writing this in transit, on an overnight stop in my Undisclosed Location on the Chesapeake Bay at the end of a road trip that’s included the Small Press Expo in Washington, D.C. and a little place called Pony Island. Also I am in the middle of making French onion soup. Next week I will be more settled in New York and return to my usual prolix self.
By curious coincidence, soon after filing this cartoon I had the opportunity to view an astonishing private collection of political cartoons, among them rare pamphlets of anti-Semitic cartoons published in Nazi-occupied Holland and Vichy France. These included caricatures of the Big Four: Stalin, Churchill, FDR, and The Jew—a thick-lipped, hook-nosed businessman—licking their chops as they divided up Europe. This same leering figure was depicted pulling strings behind the scenes to set the war in motion. (After all, think about it: who was the chief beneficiary of the Second World War? Of course: The Jews.) I have no wish to join in this ancient and execrable tradition, and I hope it’s clear that I’m going comparatively easy on Judaism, a tiny and marginal religion that’s probably suffered enough what with the Holocaust and being shut out of country clubs without being further insulted by caricaturists. I was much harsher toward the Christians, who, for all their martyrish whining, enjoy cultural dominance in this country, and the Muslims, who are completely bonkers.
Still, there’s no letting Judaism off the hook in this cartoon series. They have their silly rules (any belief system that proscribes bacon is clearly discredited) and delusional claims (like their divinely appointed historical centrality, a belief shared by 100% of human societies). But at least they don’t fool around with any hooey about an afterlife. They are generally a sane and peaceable people, except when the question of the Middle East is raised, on which subject many of them suddenly reveal themselves to be certifiably batshit. Otherwise intelligent and reasonable people will explain that the Palestinians aren’t really civilized human beings like we are, and complain about the blatant pro-Palestinian bias in the U.S. media, etc, so that all you can do is smile broadly in agreement and raise your hands in the international gesture of harmless goodwill while slowly backing away. (My friend Ben, who has traveled frequently in China, tells me that mainland Chinese have a similar pocket of rabid irrationality regarding the issue of Taiwan; even the most intelligent, liberal, gentle, and humorous of them all agree that if the Taiwanese ever try to formally break away, they will nuke their asses without hesitation.) Why the people who built New York and Hollywood would fight like berserkers to keep a parched strip of land where tourist spots include The Dead Sea is one of the many, many things I wouldn’t understand because I am without faith.
Shortly after drawing this I was able to eat a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s deli. I sometimes think that, among the contributions of the world’s religions, the pastrami sandwich at Katz’s may surpass the cathedral at Chartes.